2003 UNC Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference
March 2729, Greensboro, NC

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Social Desirability Responding and the Motivation of World Wide Web Survey Takers

Hancock, Dawson         (704) 687-4723
      Educational Leadership
      UNC Charlotte
First co-presenter: Flowers, Claudia    
Organization: UNC Charlotte

Abstract (up to 200 words):
Social desirability responding (SDR) is the tendency to provide answers on surveys that make the respondent look good. The growing popularity of the Internet suggests that WWW-administration of surveys will continue to increase in many fields. Therefore, it is important to know how survey responses obtained through the WWW compare with responses obtained on more traditional formats. In this study, 58 university students completing the same survey on both the WWW and paper demonstrated significantly more SDR when taking the survey on the WWW. In addition: (1) females exhibited more SDR than did males when taking the WWW-administered survey; (2) people who were suspicious of the WWW and its potential impact on their lives demonstrated higher levels of SDR than did people whose attitudes toward the WWW were more moderate; and (3) people with high levels of anger, upset, and resentfulness demonstrated lower levels of SDR on the WWW than did individuals who were not as emotionally influenced by the WWW-administered survey. Potential explanations for these findings are discussed and should be considered by all professions interested in using the WWW to obtain truthful and accurate information from survey-takers.

Related materials:

Session type:
Poster session (all day, 45 minutes interactive)

Time slots:
P1 - Th 4:45 - 5:30


Last Modified September 9, 2003
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